Workers’ Compensation Injury: Hearing Loss
Those who work in noisy environments for prolonged periods of time can contract noise induced hearing loss. Workers’ can also suffer traumatic hearing loss due to a one time exposure to a loud industrial noise (such as an explosion, compressed air noise or by other means). The workers’ compensation Law covers such workers for loss of hearing.
In the case of an occupational disease (exposure over time) workers’ are eligible to apply for benefits once they have been removed from the noisy work environment for at least ninety (90) days. Typically, individuals will apply for loss of hearing benefits after retiring from their job, but this is not always necessary.
Loss of hearing is determined by a hearing test conducted by an audiologist and interpreted by a medical doctor, typically an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT). Loss of hearing due to noise exposure is typically seen at the higher frequency levels and the Workers’ Compensation Board employs a special mathematical formula to determine a percentage loss of use. This loss of use converts to a payment that is dependent on the amount of your loss and your earnings at the time of retirement/last exposure.
It is important that anyone who has worked in a noisy environment and who suspects hearing loss consult with a knowledgeable attorney immediately to discuss your rights. There are strict filing requirements with regard to hearing loss. We have seen many clients who said that they did not file in time because they did not know they could make a claim for hearing loss. Unfortunately, the law does not excuse late filing for this reason. Therefore, if you suspect that you may have a work related hearing loss, we urge you to contact our office now to discuss your rights under the law.